Recipe for DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Of all of the DIY natural cleaning recipes I've tried, this homemade dishwasher detergent is the easiest to make by far. It only requires 4 common ingredients (which you can find in most superstores).

As with any homemade cleaning recipe, DIY natural dishwasher detergent has mixed reviews. There are many different recipes in existence, and no one recipe is going to work for everyone.

Will this Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Work for Me?

This depends on both the quality of your dishwasher and the hardness of your water. There is no way for me to tell you whether or not this particular recipe will work for you.

What I can say is that I developed this recipe to fit the needs of my own household. I have moderately hard water.

Here are some tips for using this recipe:

  • I add 1/4 cup of white vinegar (like this) to every load
  • If you notice a residue on your dishes, try increasing the amount of citric acid in the recipe (I use this brand)
  • If you notice that your dishes are not getting clean, try adding more dishwasher detergent with each load.

Recipe for DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

Below is just my basic recipe. As stated, I am not promising that this recipe will work for everyone as-is and I recommend that if you do not get the results you are seeking that you play around with the recipes and with the suggestions I have included above.

I'd love to hear what works for you in the comments!

What you will need:

  • A large mason jar or ice cream bucket (to store your homemade dishwasher detergent)
  • Borax (like this)
  • Washing Soda (like this)
  • Citric Acid (I use this brand)
  • Salt (Table salt is fine since you will not be ingesting it)

And now for the recipe…

(Double or triple this recipe as needed)

DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent


  • 2 cups borax - buy here
  • 2 cups washing soda - buy here
  • 1 1/2 cup citric acid - buy here
  • 1 cup salt


  • Combine all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container. Store in a dry place.
  • Use 1-2 tablespoons per load depending on the hardness of your water.
  • Add 1/4 cup white vinegar to each load if needed.
Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

5 thoughts on “Recipe for DIY Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

  1. Thanks for the very straight-forward tutorial, I’ll have to try this. I’ve been wanting to stop using the chemical-ridden store-bought detergents for a while now but I haven’t been able to find such a simple guide to making my own until now.

  2. I’ve made my own detergents before and this one does appear much easier than the detergents I’ve had experience with.

  3. This is brilliant, thank you!! I’m just getting into making my own household products. Like a lot of people nowadays, I want to avoid those chemical laden nasties that line the shelves of the supermarket.

    I recently switched to using soap nuts in my laundry and these work a treat. I wasn’t convinced at first, but pleasantly surprised at the results. As you say with your recipe, it will take a bit of playing around with, but I think it’s worth the time and effort to make your own.

    Vinegar and soda seem to be the backbone of a lot of DIY household detergents – they have so many great uses, my mother and grandmother used to use them for all kinds of purposes.

  4. This is the simplest recipe, I have seen, so far. I have tried it and it works, very well. The rinse time was much quicker. Although, I still miss the big bubbles from the store bought detergent..

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